Maine Wastewater and Drinking Water Certification and Training Requirements

Maine Wastewater Certification & Training Requirements 

Contact for Maine Wastewater Certification:

Judy Bruenjes
ME DEP, Operator Certification Program
17 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0017
Phone: (207) 287-7806
Web Site

In Maine the Division of Water Quality Management of the Department of Environmental Protection oversees the Wastewater Operation Certification Program. Operators of publicly owned and industrial wastewater treatment plants must be certified by the Department. Treatment plants are classified as either Grades I-V Biological Grade I-III Physical/Chemical or Grade I-II spray Irrigation Treatment System according to population equivalents and type of treatment. Certification for each operator Grade is based on education and experience. There are provisions for substituting education for experience as well as certain work experience for actual treatment plant experience. At a minimum a high school diploma or its equivalent (GED) or two years of actual work experience at a wastewater treatment facility is required to attain wastewater certification in Maine. In addition to education and experience requirements, operators are certified through examinations which are given in May and November each year.

Maine does not have an Operator-In-Training classification. Those wishing to enter the wastewater treatment profession must first work under the supervision of a certified operator. Only after a new worker has met the experience and exam requirements will that person be granted a Maine wastewater operators certificate. These experience/education and exam requirements for two entry-level certifications are outlined below:

Grade I Operator – The applicant for this grade shall submit satisfactory evidence of graduation from high school or at least two years experience operating a wastewater treatment plant.

Grade II Operator – The applicant for this grade shall submit satisfactory evidence of at least four years experience in a wastewater treatment plant. Education may be substituted for no more than three years of experience; or submit satisfactory evidence of three years of related education and one year of related work experience.

Operators must renew their certification every other year by showing evidence that they have completed eighteen (18) hours of approved training and paying a renewal fee.

Certification for Collection System Operators is a voluntary program administered through the New England Water Environment Association (NEWEA). This voluntary certification program has been established to promote the employment of trained, experienced, reliable, and efficient personnel for the operation of public and industrial wastewater works. There are currently four Grades of certification based on system complexity and flow capacity. Certification exams are held by the Collection Systems Certification Committee of NEWEA at times and places of their choosing. Visit the voluntary wastewater laboratory analyst certification program for further information on this program.

Maine Drinking Water Certification & Training Requirements

Contact for Maine Drinking Water Certification:

Maine Board of Licensure of Water Treatment Plant Operators – WT, D, VSWS
Teresa Trott
ME DHS, Drinking Water Program
11 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0011
Phone: (207) 287-7485
Web Site

In Maine the Department of Human Services (ME DHS) Board of Licensure of Water System Operators certifies water system operators. There are five levels of certification for water treatment facility operators based on treatment complexity. There are also five levels of certification for water distribution system operators based on population served.

Generally, no experience is needed for an Operator-In-Training (OIT), however an OIT must have passed at least a Class I examination. An operator with an OIT license is not authorized to supervise and operate a classified water system. Upon completion of the required experience, an OIT may apply to the Board for a Very Small Water System (VSWS) or Class I license.

At a minimum a high school diploma or its equivalent (GED) is required to attain water certification in Maine. Additional Entry Level Class requirements are as follows:

VSWS Operator – Six months of experience in a VSWS or higher water system or one year of related experience and pass the VSWS examination.

Class I Operator – One year experience in a Class I or higher water system or two years of related experience, and successful completion of the Class I examination.

Class II Operator – Two years experience in a Class I or higher water system or four years of related experience and pass the Class II examination.

Related experience may include, but is not limited to, wastewater treatment plant operations, pilot studies, design, planning, construction and other technical disciplines. Education may be substituted for experience as set forth below:

  1. Post high school education in approved areas of engineering, science, and/or related fields: 60 semester hours or equivalent equals 1 year of experience.
  2. Specialized training courses evaluated on an individual basis.
  3. All experience and/or education submitted in support of applications that are not specified in this section shall be evaluated on an individual basis.

Every two years the operator shall fulfill the following minimum training requirements during the last renewal cycle. The required TCH are for the highest level of license held.

Operator Class Training Contact Hours (TCH)
I 12
II 18
III & IV 24